WWC review of this study

What Happens When You Combine High School and College? The Impact of the Early College Model on Postsecondary Performance and Completion.

Edmunds, J. A., Unlu, F., Furey, J., Glennie, E., & Arshavsky, N. (2020). Educational Evaluation & Policy Analysis, 42(2), 257. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1253291

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    1,687
     Students
    , grades
    9-PS

Reviewed: September 2021

At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
College academic achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Cumulative GPA through 2 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Full sample;
1,140 students

2.65

2.59

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Cumulative GPA through 3 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

3 Years

Full sample;
1,255 students

2.60

2.57

No

--
Credential attainment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Earned a technical credential by 6 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Full sample;
1,687 students

3.50

3.10

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Earned a technical credential by 4 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;
1,687 students

2.50

2.50

No

--
Postsecondary degree attainment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Earned an associate degree or a bachelor's degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Full sample;
1,687 students

42.30

31.10

Yes

 
 
12
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Earned an associate degree by 4 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;
1,687 students

30.00

8.80

Yes

 
 
32

Earned an associate degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Under-represented minority;
582 students

20.90

5.90

Yes

 
 
31

Earned an associate degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Full sample;
1,687 students

32.80

11.00

Yes

 
 
30

Attainment of associate degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade (first-generation college-goers)

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

First-generation college-goers;
652 students

26.50

9.80

Yes

 
 
27

Earned an associate degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Economically disadvantaged;
790 students

22.90

7.90

Yes

 
 
27

Attainment of associate degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade (underprepared students)

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Underprepared students;
481 students

13.50

7.30

Yes

 
 
16

Earned an associate degree or a bachelor's degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Economically disadvantaged;
790 students

35.90

23.00

Yes

 
 
15

Attainment of any degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade (first-generation college-goers)

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

First-generation college-goers;
652 students

36.10

24.60

Yes

 
 
13

Earned an associate degree or a bachelor's degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Under-represented minority;
582 students

36.10

27.20

Yes

 
 
10

Earned a bachelor's degree 4 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;
1,687 students

16.70

12.80

Yes

 
 
7

Earned a bachelor's degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Economically disadvantaged;
790 students

21.30

16.80

Yes

 
 
7

Attainment of any degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade (underprepared students)

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Underprepared students;
481 students

24.60

19.50

No

--

Attainment of bachelor's degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade (underprepared students)

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Underprepared students;
481 students

13.30

12.10

No

--

Earned a bachelor's degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Under-represented minority;
582 students

25.00

23.20

No

--

Earned a bachelor's degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Full sample;
1,687 students

24.90

24.00

No

--

Attainment of bachelor's degree by 6 years after completion of 12th grade (first-generation college-goers)

Early College High Schools vs. Business as usual

6 Years

First-generation college-goers;
652 students

17.00

16.40

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 51% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 59%
    Male: 41%
  • Race
    Asian
    1%
    Black
    27%
    Native American
    1%
    Not specified
    11%
    White
    60%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    8%
    Not Hispanic
    92%

  • Rural, Urban
    • B
    • A
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    • D
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    North Carolina

Setting

This study includes students who applied to one of 19 early college high schools in rural and urban settings in all regions of North Carolina. The postsecondary credential analysis involved students who applied to attend one of 12 early college high schools.

Study sample

The study sample included students who applied to one of 19 early college programs from the 2005—2006 through the 2010—2011 school years. The analytic sample for the postsecondary credential analysis included 1,687 students from the 2005—2006 through the 2008—2009 school years who were randomly assigned by lottery to attend one of 12 early college high schools (952 students) or a traditional public comprehensive high school in their district (735 students). In this sample, 59 percent of students were female, 60 percent were White, 27 percent were Black, and eight percent were Hispanic. Just over half of the sample (51 percent) were economically disadvantaged and 41 percent were first-generation college students. About three percent of the sample were disabled or impaired.

Intervention Group

Students assigned to the intervention group attended early college high schools, which are small schools of choice that combine the high school and college experiences and are located on college campuses. In this study, the early college high schools served students in grades 9 and higher who are under-represented in college. These programs enabled students to complete college credits while still in high school, but they also provided support in academic skills preparation such as writing, teamwork, class discussion, time management, notetaking, and study skills. In addition, the programs supported students in navigating college processes such as selecting and registering for classes, using college resources, using online course materials, applying for college, and applying for financial aid.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group entered into a lottery but were not selected to be admitted to an early college high school. These students typically attended a traditional public comprehensive high school in their district. The traditional high schools may have provided some support in study skills and navigating the college selection and application process.

 

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